One day a teenage friend of mine, who is moving closer to knowing Christ, and I were playing basketball in the park, and he seemed to be moving slower than usual.
When I asked what his problem was, he showed me a huge painful-looking blister that took up a small section on his foot. I suggested we go back to the house to give his wound a rest. He offered no objections. He was moving even slower as we walked home, so I carried him on my back for the last stretch of the trip.
After lounging around the house for a while with some of the other summer missionaries, we realized it was time to go to an evening prayer meeting at a local chapel. We Americans were going to be the special guest that night. I told my friend he could stay at the house with the cooking team and wait for us to get finished.
“I want to go”
To my surprise he said, “But I want to go.”
I asked if he had ever gone to chapel before and he said, “No.”
I made sure that he knew that it was not a close walk there. He hesitated, looked down at his now bloody foot and said, “OK.” Looking out for his health, I commented that it may be a better idea for him stay this time so that we would not aggravate his blister more.
“I want to go, though,” he pleaded.
I told him there would be plenty more opportunities. After all, I will be staying here a few years. Very meekly looking at me and almost embarrassed to ask, he responded with, “Well, couldn’t you carry me?”
I finally got the picture
Complete shame hit me. What had I been doing? This guy, who was not a part of the body of Christ, was nearly begging me to let him experience a church no matter what the cost, and I, Mr. Missionary, was trying to talk him out of it.
As I carried Cameron on my back to the chapel, we had a super in-depth spiritual conversation about genuine faith. He asked me about it, because apparently he had read it in his Bible the night before. I explained to him the realities of faith and how significant God’s grace is.
God is revealing himself to this kid in rapid movements, and he is teaching me lessons while he is at it.
William Bowden, a recent graduate of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and former Go Now missionary, is serving in Wales with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board’sHands On missions program.